May 26, 2005
Yesterday in Washington, the city's health director announced a new expedited system under which local nonprofit AIDS service organizations will be reimbursed in 30 days or less for their services. Gregg A. Pane revealed the changes one week after being ordered by the D.C. Council's Health Committee to fix the problems, which have caused financial hardships for many groups.
The old process required monthly audits and invoice approval by at least eight employees. The new process reduces the eight steps to four, and it calls for more detailed quarterly reviews. Payments will be sent out prospectively every quarter so providers do not have to advance money for services. Health Committee members reacted positively to the changes.
Pane did not, however, implement the suggestion of committee Chairperson David A. Catania (I-At Large) that the administration turn the reimbursement function over to an outside company. Pane said this was unnecessary, and he blamed the tardy payments on the system, not its employees.
Preliminary findings indicate that the agency had not conducted the four required annual site visits to any of 35 grant recipients. Two programs "showed no evidence" of providing any HIV/AIDS services, testimony indicated, and some site reports appeared to have been altered.
The nonprofits that have been waiting for checks are now waiting for proof -- in the form of timely payments -- that the system has been fixed.
05.26.2005; Susan Levine
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